Germany: Incoming Government Discusses the Details of Cannabis Legalization

All three parties involved in coalition talks want cannabis legalized and are discussing the details of its regulation
11 November 2021
2 min read
Germany: Incoming Government Discusses the Details of Cannabis Legalization

As Germany’s three major parties are hammering out the details of the coalition agreement, the issue of making cannabis use legal for adults is a prominent part of the negotiations. The future administration that will probably take office in early December is much more open to resolving the issue than their predecessors under Angela Merkel.

A Multi-Billion Carrot on a Stick

Before 2019, cannabis was scheduled as a Class IV drug—the category that also includes heroin and cocaine. It means that it was denied any medical benefits. However, it is now a Class I substance, and doctors in Germany have filled out €19 million worth of prescriptions in the first half of 2021 alone. Patients use the medicine for conditions such as chronic pain and epilepsy.

The recreational market may present an even greater opportunity. In Canada, where the comprehensive legalization bill was passed in 2018, the annual sales have reached €2 billion. Germany’s incoming government considers this a huge opportunity and a welcome boost for the economy decimated by the pandemic.

Germany: Incoming Government Discusses the Details of Cannabis Legalization: An immense greenhouse with glass roof and auxilliary lighting full of flowering cannabis plants

Greenhouses for cannabis cultivation may become a familiar sight in Germany.

Analyses predict the number of active users—both medical and recreational—to reach 1 million in case of full legalization. This would translate to the overall market size ranging from 3.2 to 4 billion euros per year.

Capitalizing on the Reform That the Public Wants

Major cannabis manufacturers operating internationally are in a hurry to have a foot in Europe’s door because Germany may become not just the first legal market on the continent. It’s also likely to be the biggest one.

At the same time, only three German companies have licenses to grow cannabis domestically. And they are only allowed to cultivate the plant outdoors and behind tall concrete walls.

Johannes Gallois, the CEO of GECA Pharma in Cologne, told Deutsche Welle that they expect the local industry to hugely benefit from the legalization. He also expressed his wish that decision-makers would invite stakeholders in the industry to be a part of the discussion.

There is a clear shift in public opinion toward cannabis legalization in Germany. The latest poll conducted by the country’s Hemp Association in October found that for the first time, more people spoke in favor of reform than against it. 49% of Germans, according to the survey, welcome the idea of legalizing and regulating cannabis cultivation and sale. 46% remain opposed.


11 November 2021